Italy has adopted a blanket ban on the advertising of gaming with cash prizes.

The country’s Council of Ministers took the decision on July 2, led by deputy prime minister Luigi di Maio, who commented: “This is a first step forward. Italy is the first country in Europe to ban gaming advertising.” The ban will come into force immediately once the decree is finalised, which will probably be January 1, 2019.

Some last-minute changes were made to the original wording of the decree, including the survival of existing advertising agreements and the exclusion from the provisions of national lotteries with delayed drawing, such as the Lotteria Italia. Also the logos of advertising of safe and responsible gaming under the auspices of the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli.

Heavy fines are introduced for non-compliance, a minimum of €50,000, with the fines being donated to the fund against pathological gambling.

The ban covers all forms of advertising through newspapers and magazines, TV and radio, the internet and the advertising of sponsorships with sports clubs.

The new regulation is part of what the government calls the Dignity Decree but it has brought dismay to the trade associations representing the different parts of the industry, including football teams, as many of the current teams in the top division, Serie A, carry gambling company sponsorship logos.